It’s the Chinese new year and I wanted to revisit Binondo, the oldest Chinatown in the world. I knew celebrations this 2021 will be quite different due to the pandemic. But since I haven’t been to this part of Manila, I thought it would be interesting to bike around the area. This time, I went bimodal too. Trying out the Pasig River Ferry service from Guadalupe to Escolta, then back to San Joaquin, Pasig in the evening. So how is it like to travel on a water vessel with my folding bike this pandemic?
The cycling boom has certainly made me more keen on exploring areas near my residence in Pasig. If I can pedal it, I will attempt to explore. Rizal province is certainly one of them. Lately I had been frequenting the hills of Antipolo for its mountains and nature. I’ve been seeing Camp Sinai as one of the popular destinations for cyclist and it certainly looked appealing for a mountain-lover like me. Imagine views of the Sierra Madre mountain range, roads fringed with pine trees and the nippy weather. And a couple of days before Christmas, I decided to take advantage of the good weather and rode up to Antipolo to finally check this out.
For a moment, I sat on the concrete bench, gazed at the blue sky and clouds mirrored at the still lake. It was a tranquil space in the midst of greens. Jamboree Lake was unknown to me until a fellow outdoor enthusiast and biker, Cha, posted her visit here on social media. I got curious of this lake found within the city of Muntinlupa. Much more when I learned it was the smallest natural lake in the country. With the pandemic prohibiting our movement, it was a challenge to find a patch of nature to explore and enjoy in the stifling concrete landscape of the city. So this was a good starting point for adventure.
CNN listed the bikeways at Sun Moon Lake as one of the “10 Cycling Routes in the world that will take your breath away”. I get to find out for myself if this isn’t just a hype. During our luxury stay at Fleur de Chine, I made sure to wake up early and maximize my morning by the lake. We have a biking activity in the morning but there were still hours to spare for quick morning stroll. After seeing the star studded sky, placid lake and mountain gradients from my room balcony I was just too eager to get close to the lake.
One thing I really like about Taiwan is how bike-friendly the country is. Bikeways are some of the main attractions in Taichung. Still at Houli district coming from the Chungse Tourist Flower Market, we found ourselves near a horse ranch and city park where there are several bike rental services in the area. The area is part of the Houfeng Bikeway (also called Hou-feng Bikeway). An extensive 4.5 km bike path running along an old mountain railway. It offers a unique experience of varying sceneries from the country side, the longest railway tunnel and a steel bridge.
The mountain’s Hersheys chocolate kisses-like shape makes it an eye-catching roadside attraction when passing through the main highway of Pasadeña to Barotuan, about 12km north of El Nido from the town center. But it took a while before someone conquered the summit of Mt Mansilawit despite its low elevation as there were tales of giant snakes and notorious monkeys living on this mountain. Pasadeña Native couple, Sylvia and Alex were brave enough to explore and are now lead guides to share the wonders of this little mountain. I decided to bike here from town since I’ve been curious about this mountain and I thought biking would be the best way to see other places en route. It took me almost an hour to reach the signage pointing the way to the mountain.
It was almost pitch black. I was extra careful riding my bike as I could only see only about 6-10 feet of the road ahead of me. I was thankful for the cheap LED light I bought before flying to Batanes as I could never have ridden in this darkness. I left Basco as early as 5am so I could catch the first falowa to Sabtang island. After a day’s rest, I decided to continue biking in Batanes while I still have a group to join with, this time to bike Sabtang island. I wasn’t sure at first if I can handle the terrain but our guide Rene assured me Sabtang is a lot manageable than our North Batan Island ride to Tukon we did the other day.